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The Best Spanish Rice

This is our go-to spanish rice recipe! It produces delicious, fluffy rice every time.

Isn’t it strange how Mexican restaurants all over the country consistently make delicious spanish rice, and yet we lay-folk who try to make it at home can’t ever seem to get it right?

Over the years, I’ve tried lots of different recipes for this popular side dish–rice with salsa stirred in, rice with cilantro and green enchilada sauce stirred in, rice from a rice-a-roni box–but they always turn out really wet and gloopy, and not at all like restaurant rice. I’m usually the only one who eats these sticky concoctions, and that’s mostly out of a sense of duty to myself.

But hallelujah the search is over! It’s all blue skies and sunshine and dry, fluffy rice speckled with bits of tomato and cilantro from here on out because I have found a winner!

The secret’s in the starch–or rather, the lack of starch. By rinsing the rice in cold water, you wash away all of that sticky starch, and you get nice fluffy rice just like the restaurants make.

I’ve made this recipe lots of times since I discovered it at the beginning of the year, and it’s a hit every time. I made it for our big family Cinco de Mayo dinner a few weekends ago, and the rice was the star of the show. I would have cried tears of joy if I hadn’t been so busy helping myself to another serving of rice.

This is our go-to spanish rice recipe! It produces delicious, fluffy rice every time.

Spanish Rice

Yield: 10-12 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Our very favorite, no-fail Spanish Rice recipe! Adapted from a recipe on


  • 2 Tablespoons canned chopped green chilies
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro


    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
    2. Combine chilies and diced tomatoes (plus liquid) in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until mostly smooth; set aside.
    3. Put the rice in a strainer and rinse with cold water until the water runs clear. Shake as much water out as possible.
    4. Pour oil into the bottom of a dutch oven over medium heat. Add rice and saute until just beginning to turn golden, about 10 minutes. Add onions and garlic, and cook until onions are tranlucent. Add chicken broth, tomato paste, salt, and reserved tomato/chili mixture and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, cover, remove from heat, and place in the oven.
    5. Bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven, stir, replace cover, and bake another 15-20 minutes, until the rice is nice, fluffy, and dry. Stir in cilantro and cover until ready to serve.
This is our go-to spanish rice recipe! It produces delicious, fluffy rice every time.

27 thoughts on “The Best Spanish Rice

    1. Hi Natalie! Any kind of pot with a lid that can be used on the stove-to and in the oven will work. If you don’t have something that can do both, you can transfer the rice to a baking dish as soon as it boils, cover it tightly with foil, and then bake it. Good Luck!

  1. You are able to do it on the stove as well… Cook on the stove for 20 mins after the water boils place it on medium low and the best thing that make spanish rice flurry is by NOT I mean do not stir it this I have learn from my grandmother who is from Mexico and by following her rules my rice has always come out perfect!

    1. No, you definitely want to wash all of that starch away. It’s what makes rice sticky, which is perfect for sticky rice, but not so good if you want light, fluffy Spanish rice. Rinse, rinse, rinse!

  2. Hi, I’m the same anonymous from Feb27th! I made this and I gotta say your recipe is awesome. Husband, Son, Daughter in-law all loved it! Making it again now to go with my homemade refried beans and chili relenos. Thanks for sharing. Absolutely the best texture, flavor… restraunt style. ♥♥♥♥♥ That’s kinda like five stars!

  3. I found this recipe about 1.5 years ago, and I make it at least every 2-3 weeks. My whole family loves it so much! Thank you for an amazing recipe!

  4. Hi Melissa,

    I am going to be making this dish for a Nye potluck – really neither here nor there. šŸ™‚ I’m somewhat of a beginner cook, so please excuse my amateur question! My question has to do with the oil. Many times recipes note oil, but do not specify a particular kind. Usually I assume olive oil, but I also understand that different cooking oils are better for different ingredients/dishes. What kind of oil are you using when you make this dish? It looks so delicious, I want to make it correctly. Thank you!

  5. This is THEE best Spanish rice EVER!!!! My husband doesn’t like Spanish rice because every recipe I’ve tried comes out too wet. I had to make him put some of this one on his plate, but after he tried it he went back for seconds and thirds. We had a bunch of teenagers over our house that night as well and they went back for seconds and thirds too. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe. I’m so happy to finally have a good Spanish rice recipe in the mix!!!

    1. Thanks, Rebecca! I feel the exact same way as your husband–most recipes turn out too wet! But I love how fluffy this one is, and I make it almost weekly. xoxo

  6. We have been using this recipe for years so I figured I should comment šŸ™‚ My husband has been in a cooking mood recently and tried several other versions of Spanish rice over the past few months (Betty Crocker, Better Homes & Gardens- the classics) but tonight told me to look this one up and do it again. Can’t find one that beats it!

  7. Hey there, Came across this recipe this evening and I am intrigued. I do have a fewquestions, can I sub out the tomatoes and chillies for Sofrito? Also if I sauteed the rice and garlic and onions together first can I just add it all to a rice cooker and let it do its thing? TIA šŸ™‚

    1. Hi Shanna! I’ve only ever made it following these exact directions, so I’m not sure how it would turn out with your changes. You can always give it a try, but I can’t guarantee the rice will turn out the same as this. Best of luck!

    1. I’ve successfully doubled it before in the same pot, but I don’t think a triple batch would fit. It makes a lot more than you think it’s going to!

    1. Hi Michele! I’ve never tried substituting any other kind of rice, but I say give it a go and see how it turns out. I think at worst the rice would turn out a little wetter or a little drier than expected, but still tasty. If you try, please report back and tell us all how it went!

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